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Friday, February 13, 2009

"Stimulus" file size: Is Congress TRYING to keep us from examining it?

ReadTheStimulus.org is reporting that the final language of the "stimulus" bill has been posted on the U.S. House website. But if you think you're going to get to exercise your right to easily pore over the legislation, think again. From ReadTheStimulus.org...
Final Language Posted
Posted at 11:00 pm on Thursday, February 12, 2009

The final language has been posted; you can find links to the various docs at the Speaker's website. Update: The speaker's website is apparently down. Imagine that. Docs are also available here.

The total size of the four major files is over 100MB, and consists of 1419 pages. Three of the four files are huge "scanned" PDFs, meaning they were created by printing the original document and then scanning it in again --- and therefore contain no real "text" that can be easily searched. This will make our parsing process difficult and more time consuming, so we most likely won't have our versions ready until midday tomorrow. But we'll see...

There is no reason at all why this bill, as bloated as it is, should not be in standard rich-text Acrobat format. 1,419 pages? In a document containing all text and no images, that would be extremely quick and easy to download, not to mention convenient to search and scan.

But instead, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has published the "stimulus" as unwieldy scanned images.

In my mind, either the House website staff is inept and incapable of fully grasping available technology, or this is a deliberate attempt to prevent the legislation from easily being scrutinized by the public.

I'm inclined to believe the latter.